Monday, October 14, 2002

Dale: "All Norway, All The Time!"

A respectful, thoughtful rebuttal by Matthew Wagner. "Blogging: Where Equal Time Is a Reality."

"I encountered your blog the other day via a link from Instapundit, and I'm afraid I must take issue with a few of your central points. In brief, I agree with your assessment of this last Nobel Peace prize...but please don't take out your aggressions on the Norwegian people due to the actions of five idiots who happen to live there. I would have thought that the number of intelligent right-of-center Norwegian blogs out there would have at least offset the effect of these five in your mind. I'm afraid also that your assessment of Norway's participation in WWII is rather short-sighted. Most of my knowledge on the subject comes from an unabashed pride of my heritage, so I readily acknowledge a bias, but I feel that the facts do back up such a pride. (I apologize for only providing the one link, but as it's a subject very few people care about, and I've never really had to back it up before, I don't have a comprehensive source.)

The link.

There's no debate that the German invasion was assisted by insufficent, even incompetent response on the part of the Norwegian forces. However, that's far from the entire story. Contribution of the Norwegian merchant navy (third largest in the world) to the Allied war effort provided essential shipping services in all arenas of the war. Further, the resistance within Norway to the German occupation hindered the German governance at every turn, and required the stationing of an absurd number of German troops within the country to merely maintain the occupation. One particular incident (told to me by my Grandfather) comes to mind: When the German troops first established their occupation force, they pressed the Oslo bus drivers into providing occasional transport for their
troops. A short while later, entire busloads of troops started going missing. This proved to be quite the mystery until one of the missing troops turned up. The soldier reported that the bus driver, while driving the full busload of troops to their station, had simply driven off the side of a fjord, plunging a hundred feet down to the icy waters below, killing everyone on the bus (excepting this soldier who had managed to swim free).

Further, I would hope that the actions of the squad of Norwegians who twice managed to sabotage the heavy water plants in Vemark might counterbalance the idiocy of five holier-than-thou intellectuals.

In short, the source you quote, giving 15,000 volunteers for the Axis and 11,000 for the Allies, ignores the contributions of the merchant navy, the 44,000 underground resistance soldiers, and counts only those who A) managed to get to another country where they could enlist on the Allied side and B) couldn't serve the effort better as part of the merchant navy. (It is evident that the merchant navy numbers aren't being counted, as your linked article lists only about 1,000 dead in combat, when the merchant navy losses alone were 4,000.)

Am I saying that Norwegian troops were key in the course of the war and centrally responsible for the eventual defeat of the Axis? No, of course not. However, I do feel that their contribution was to the greatest extent they could manage, and thus deserve better treatment than to be dismissed as capitulators and people with an "appeaser mentality." (This last comment was what prompted my little missive, as I felt it was particularly unjust.) The main lesson to be learned from all of this is that a country's people are not the same thing as their armed forces or their intellectuals. Despite the capitulation of their armed forces, the Norwegian people fought back, and, we hope, despite the moral capitulation of their only world-visible intellectuals to the forces of simpering anti-Americanism, I hope that the citizens of Norway aren't nearly so knee-jerk as those who would "kick us in the leg." At the very least I'd hope that Norway remembers that neutrality in the face of a dictator means very little.

I know you were overstating your case merely for the sake of emphasis and to make a point, but it still struck me as rather unfair. I hope you'll take this little note into consideration. (You're welcome to reproduce any of it that you like.)"

[I'll respond when I get a chance. It's my day off, and I have yet to do the family's grocery shopping. Maddie slept for three and a half hours today, so that's why I'm slow off the mark. I was able to watch Lord of the Rings again while she was out cold.]333.......00 --Baby found the keyboard again.

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